I've had a couple of reminders this week that sometimes life is shorter than we expect. The first is an MS I am reading for a friend that I am not at liberty to discuss, except to say it's a tear-jerker. But Wednesday, at Chapter by Chapter I got my first sighting of a sad tale. I should probably start at the beginning...
Chimera, a group of editors who were trying to get going with an editing gig. Initially my interactions were all with Callie (Callie is the name of the Grey's Anatomy character I identify with, other than that whole lesbian thing, by the way... erm... and my cat, though she is Cali... but I digress...)
Anyway... I WON the critique from them and got critiques from Callie, Erica (who's become a good blogger buddy and the way I learned all this) and Zellie (about whom this tale is about to become—was that an awkward phrase, or what?). The critiques have been very helpful... if I'd only now apply it forward through the rest of the MS... but really, this is more about connections made.
I learned Wednesday that Zellie had lost a battle with cancer. Zellie was young and healthy, and the cancer was rare and unexpected. Like so many of us, Zellie was a writer. I encourage you to read through Erica's posts about some of her inspiring last months and the writing accomplishments (including meeting one of her idols—being featured in an article he wrote) and publishing her book with all proceeds to go to cancer research. I only had a couple emails exchanged with Zellie—I didn't know her well. But I can see how she impacted the lives of people I care about, so Zellie, you will be missed.
It got me thinking... (this... and that super secret project I am giving a hand on)
If you know your time is short... what REALLY matters? What is it you have to get done?
Who would you want to see?
Who would you want to MEET?
What legacy would you feel compelled to leave?
Me? I would definitely take a trip back west... hold parties in Moscow and Portland, urging people I've known to come, but I'd also have some serious small group bonding with closest friends and family. I'd work things out with my mom... and make her promise to play nice with my husband, because he'd be in charge of whether her grandkids ever saw her.
If I could SWING IT, I'd meet JK Rowling, Peter Straub, Tom Robbins, Stephen King—any of the Pythons... and I'd try to meet as many of my writer friends as I could.
And I would DEFINITELY try to get the books I've already written cleaned up, but short of that, I would leave my PLANS with the Burrow with my wishes to split proceeds between them and my family if they managed to get anything published.
What about all of you? If you KNEW life would be short, what would you be sure to fit in? I think Zellie did a stellar job with the time she had.